I picked this one up after reading a mediocre review here on CBR, so I don’t know why I was surprised that it took me two weeks to slough my way to the finish line.
First of all, the title is misleading because the daughters’ stories receive no more attention than their parent’s courtship, Alexandra’s medical drama, Alexey’s hemophilia and the dependence Alexandra began to have for Rasputin. The daughters, their personalities, romantic interests and other facts about them are presented, it just doesn’t feel like they’re truly the stars of their own biography. It’s well researched, lots of letters and passages from diaries but it felt more like a brief overview of the entire Romanov family instead of a focused biography of the four daughters. Also, through no fault of the author’s, so many people have the same or similar names. It became exhausting trying to keep up with who was related to who and who did what when.
“Many years later he insisted, ‘They knew it was the end when I was with them’; that evening, though the words remained resolutely unspoken, everyone had a clear sense of what might lie ahead.”
It’s overwhelming to think of atrocities like this happening to such a prominent family in a fairly modern time, uprising or not. This is the first book I’ve read about Russian history; I’m interested in finding something that focuses more on what led to the revolution that brought on the end tsars and a Russian royal family.